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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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I'm seeing inexperienced law grads competing with experienced attorneys for entry-level (no jd/licensure reqs) part-time positions.  And who gets hired? It's the girl with a high-school education, because you know an attorney is going to be bitter filing papers and answering phones for $10/hr.

The market is bad, but let's not get carried away. I live and work in LA, one of the worst legal markets for new grads. I have never  heard of an "experienced attorney" competing for a $10/hr job with high school grads. I assume that you're in NY, and perhaps the market there is significantly worse.

Frankly, an experienced attorney who is competing for a $10/hr job has problems that go far beyond the economy. An experienced attorney should be able to go solo and make more than $10/hr.

What I do see are a lot of new grads with very little experience competing for entry level associate positions, deputy DA/PD, etc. , against attorneys who have 2-3 years experience. Many of the new grads think that their grades and pedigree should land them the job, but fail to understand that small firms and govt offices don't have the money train someone. At non-biglaw/non-federal jobs, applicable experience trumps just about everything else. I would encourage every law student to worry less about grades and to focus on gaining experience and networking. It will help you far more than being able to say "I got an A in civpro."

One quick example: my friend went to law school part-time at a T4 and worked in a small family law office during the day. By the time she graduated she had four years of experience doing everything from interviewing clients, to making appearances, to writing motions. On top of that, she hustled like crazy and made tons of connections. She had job offers at graduation, before passing the bar. She found a niche, focused on gaining real experience, and it paid off. She was probably in a better position than a UCLA grad with better  grades and one internship under their belt.   

It's very difficult straight out of law school for most new lawyers, but it does get better after a couple of years. I truly believe that many law students could reduce their disappointment by being a little more realistic about where they're likely to get employed (small firms, doing non-glamorous work like DUIs and divorces), and gaining real experience (not just research-based summer associate positions).

I'd have to agree with Duncanjp. Is it possible to commute three hours, raise kids, and still succeed in law school? Yes, but it's going to be very stressful. Law school is nothing like undergrad, it's far more difficult and time consuming.

I had a family and went to law school at night. My wife was already a lawyer and thus was more understanding than the average spouse. Even so, it put a strain on our relationship. For four years my evenings were spent in class and my weekends were a balancing act. I opted to spend more time with my family than many of my classmates, especially after the first two years. Nonetheless I still missed out on vacations, weekend trips, you name it. More significantly, a huge amount of the daily running of the house fell squarely on my wife, I simply wasn't around.

It's imperitive that you get your spouse fully onboard right from the outset. Especially if you have kids, this is going to have to be a serious team effort for the next few years. If there is a way to avoid the commute (a closer school?), do it.

Law School Applications / Re: Applying before graduation?
« on: October 22, 2012, 07:01:21 PM »
As soon as you graduate (which will be only a month after you submit your application, right?) you have the last semester's grades and proof of graduation sent to the law school. LSAC has all the info you need on how to do this. It's not a problem, tons of people apply to law school before they've graduated.

Where should I go next fall? / Re: How important is location?
« on: October 20, 2012, 07:37:55 PM »
As a general rule, unless you're going to an elite national school, you should go to law school where you intend to practice. If you want to live in NYC you will have far better options for internships and networking if spend those three years in NYC. Going to school in TN, and then showing up after graduation is going to put you at a disadvantage (unless you go to Vanderbilt).

Does the cheap tuition in TN outweigh the career development prospects in NYC? I can't say. You need to take your long term goals and financial situation into account to answer that one. Do you want biglaw, or are you alright with small firm work and government? Those are major factors in deciding where to go.

If you're not accepted to a very well regarded NY school, however, be wary of debt.
Consider this: NYC is one of the most competitive legal markets in the nation. Let's say Vandy is out and you must choose between UTK, Memphis, or a local NYC school like Brooklyn or Hofstra. If you go to a NY school you may rack up a $150-200K debt, and have to compete against tons of NY and out of state grads for jobs. There is a decent chance you'll end up back in TN or some other part of the country anyway if you can't get a job. That kind of debt can really cripple you.

Conversely, you could go to school in TN, build up few years of experience, and then make the move when you're more marketable. It's not easy, but people do it all the time. 

I have read about the low pass rates on the Baby Bar, and this is concerning for me.

As long as you attend a CBE accredited school, you'll be exempt from the FYLSE (unless you're disqualified and have to seek re-admission, I think).

California has CBE accredited schools, unaccredited registered schools, and unaccredited unregistered schools. If you go to either of the last two types you'll have to take the FYLSE. All online or correspondance schools fall into one of those two categories, and a few brick & mortar schools do too (California Southern Law School in Riverside, for example). Make sure to confirm that the school is accredited by Calbar and not just registered.

If you just want it to further your current career and not to practice. There is the EJD Option (can't sit the bar, but no fybx requirment and about 20 less credits required to graduate)

This is just my opinion, but I think that the potential benefits of an EJD accrue to very, very few people. For the vast majority of students an EJD is waste of time and money.

It doesn't qualify you to take the bar, it's almost as expensive as a bar qualifying JD (non-ABA), and nobody takes it seriously anyway. I'm sure that there is always some benefit to acquiring limited, general legal knowledge, but you'd want to do a serious cost/benefit analysis.

I worked at a large national non-profit organization and in consulting before going to law school. JDs, MBAs, and few other degrees were considered beneficial (and sometimes necessary) for promotion. An EJD, especially from an unaccredited online school, would have been pretty much disregarded. I just don't see the investment paying off for most people.

Law School Applications / Re: Odds with a low GPA, but high LSAT score.
« on: October 19, 2012, 02:05:43 AM »
At this point, without a final GPA or LSAT score, everything is pure speculation. You really can't be sure what your GPA will be, and you definitely can't predict your LSAT score. I'm not trying to sound discouraging, but I think most people probably score lower than expected.

Keep your grades up, and study like crazy for the LSAT. Take a prep course as you get closer to applying. Your major will likely have little or no impact on admissions. Even if you don't get into an elite school, a high LSAT will help you get scholarships.

In the US, UofL would be only one with name recognition.

My understanding is that while a standard University of London degree would qualify the holder to take the bar in a few states (CA, NY, and maybe a few others), the U of L online degree would not. Is that correct?

Law School Applications / Re: Chances?
« on: October 18, 2012, 12:40:12 PM »
Do you have any other suggestions of where to apply? 

With a 3.6/156 you can probably get into something like half the law schools in the country, so it's really a question of where you want to live and what you want to do with your degree.

Keep in mind that once you get outside the realm of the elite nationally recognized law schools (Harvard, Yale, etc.), pretty much all other institutions have regional or local reputations. The specific differences in rankings become very muddled at that point. At such schools your internship/clerkship opportunities, alumni network, and ability to establish your own contacts are going to be local. For example, if you want to live in Colorado, the University of Denver is probably a much better choice than American even though American is ranked higher by USNWR. Although American might be ranked higher, it's not so prestigious that most employers are going to give you a job based on pedigree alone. A DU grad who has had three years to network and intern is going to be in a much better position to obtain employment in Denver.

You can extrapolate that example to other markets. If you go school at Michigan State and then show up in D.C. after graduation looking for a job, you're going to have a hard time competing with American grads who have already made their contacts. If you wanted to live in LA, for example, would a degree from the Tier 1-ranked University of Iowa open more doors than a degree from a local southern California school like Southwestern or La Verne? I doubt it. I live in LA and I think most lawyers here would say " that in Canada?"

There is a difference between the way that law students think about rankings, and the way that lawyers think about rankings. If you ask lawyers which law schools are the best, invariably Harvard, Yale, and Stanford come up. But if you ask which is ranked #36 and which is ranked #63, they don't know and they don't care. At that point they rely on past experience and local knowledge.

Think about where you want to spend three or four years, and what you want to do with your degree. Don't let some magazine's arbitrary rankings scheme override your common sense. Law school is an intense, often stressful affair, and you want to be somewhere where you feel comfortable and (relatively) happy. 

Elaborate on 1L is a year long standardize test??

Your grades in law school will usually be based on just one exam at the end of each semester. Law school exams are very difficult, comprehensive, stressful affairs for most people. You will spend the entire semester preparing for just one exam. They are nothing like the exams you took in undergrad, and you'll actually be competing for grades with your classmates. A level of performance that would have gotten you a solid "A" in undergrad might get you a C- in law school.

I suppose that law school exams aren't standardized in the strict sense, since each professor creates their own exam, but the format (essay) and topics don't really vary. The point is, if you have a tough time with standardized exams law school is going to be very challenging.

I almost forgot: you will also have to pass the MPRE to graduate, which is a standardized exam.

What LSAT score do the CBE schools usually require? I assume 140s? If so, you should be fine if you previously scored high enough to get into a T2.

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